AAEX was founded in September 2016 following an open call inviting artists in North Louth and the surrounding areas to set up a platform for exchange and communication between artists and to facilitate engaged public art. It was initiated in response to a perceived lack of any such initiative in the area and taken up immediately by many. From the outset AAEX never had less than 14 active members and has grown to over 30 by now.
AAEX aims to overcome the isolation often encountered by visual artists and develop creative exchange in the region, both between artists and with a local audience. AAEX brings together artists of various career states, skill sets, interests or other backgrounds to collaborate as well as socialise. It aims to further community participation in aesthetic projects at a professional standard.
In engaging with an audience, a focus of the group is on making art accessible to all, on art as practical and theoretical exchange in which many can have a stake. Art is intended to be presented as something tangible, as a process to observe or take part in with artists being present and approachable. The goal is to raise awareness and understanding of the process of making art and the effort, skill or research involved, as well as getting to know practitioners in the area in order to build long-term relationships between the group, individual artists and a local audience. AAEX seeks to give artists opportunities to showcase their work and engage with issues important to them.
“As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighbourhood, city, or region, placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.”